THE WORD ON THE STREET IS "DAAAANG!"

Smashburger expanding to Iowa with franchise deal

Restaurant company Smashburger Master LLC said it has reached a franchise deal that will bring 16 new locations to central Iowa. Denver-based Smashburger, a unit of private equity firm Consumer Capital Partners, said the deal with Smashguys LLC is its eighth franchisee agreement to date.

With the new Iowa stores, the “better burger” fast-casual chain said it will have deals for 167 franchise locations.┬áThe company website lists 12 currently open stores, all in Colorado except one in Texas and one in Kansas. Terms were not announced. The first Iowa restaurant is expected to open by the end of 2009, with the remainder opening over the next four years.

“Smashguys is a veteran franchisee with extensive restaurant and food service experience, and the agreement allows us to build even stronger market share in the Midwest,” Smashburger President Scott Crane said in a statement late Monday. Smashburger says it plans to have 500 restaurants over the next several years, with 30 to 60 opening in 2009.

In January, Smashburger announced a deal with San Antonio-based SB Alamo Development LLC to open 45 restaurants in Texas and New Mexico over the next eight years. It also has signed deals in recent months that will lead to locations in Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah.